We’re Growing, Things to Eat on Campus!

With a working kitchen lab for restaurant management and foodservice management courses, and a catering kitchen, the farm to table initiative was one that Rosen College embraced. However, without a garden on the Universal Boulevard campus, UCF’s main campus Arboretum, a half-hour drive away, was one source of fresh produce used in the Rosen College kitchens. That’s changing!  Thanks to two hydroponic Tower Gardens, by Juice Plus+, that now grace the courtyard near the walkway to the Disney Dining Room, fresh produce is sprouting on campus.

Before the Tower Gardens arrived, the original plan was to have a fenced in herb and vegetable garden built at the Rosen College campus behind the main administrative building. Logistics put that plan in the shed and a new idea was germinated when Dr. Abe Pizam, dean of Rosen College saw similar Tower Gardens on main campus in East Orlando. The Tower Gardens provide a compact way to grow vegetable, herbs and even things like strawberries, in much smaller square footage than a traditional garden.   The first crop from the Rosen College Tower Gardens will be two types of tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, lettuce and herbs. The plan is to use many of the herbs and vegetables in Rosen College kitchen labs for class and possibly for catering.

According to the experts, pests aren’t generally a problem with Tower Gardens as it’s difficult for crawling insects to scale the towers. The gardens are placed in direct sunlight to maximize growth, but if the weather was inclement or overcast for days, lights are available in the labs to keep the produce growing. New crops will be planted every semester depending on how quickly they grow, and at the very least annually in order to try different vegetables and herbs.

— (March 22, 2017)